- The National Industrial Court has dismissed a suit filed by ex-Taraba deputy governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, asking the state government to pay him N236 million as gratuity and pension
- Umar had cited a law passed by the state House of Assembly to back his request for the pension
- The court, however, dismissed the suit, ruling that state Houses of Assembly lack power to fix gratuity and pension for former governors and deputy governors
- Justice Amadi, the presiding judge, also ruled that Umar was never a deputy governor of the state as there was no lawful or valid record to show he ever held the office
A former deputy governor of Taraba state, Alhaji Garba Umar, had his hopes dashed on Monday, January 13, as the National Industrial Court sitting in Jos dismissed a suit he filed seeking N236 million as gratuity and pension.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presiding judge, Justice Kenneth Amadi, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Legit.ng gathers that Umar was appointed deputy governor in 2012 by late former governor Danbaba Suntai after Alhaji Dani Abubakar-Danladi was removed by the state House of Assembly.
Umar had asked the court to compel the Taraba state government to pay him N236 million being his unpaid gratuity and pension while in office between 2012 and 2014. Umar.
He claimed that the demand for N236 million was in accordance with the Taraba State Governor and Deputy Governor’s Pension Law, 2015 passed by the State House of Assembly on May 15, 2015.
However, the judge ruled that state Houses of Assembly lack power to fix gratuity and pension for former governors and deputy governors, saying such power resides with the National Assembly.
Justice Amadi added that Abubakar-Danladi was at all material times the state's deputy governor, saying his purported removal was not effective.
He said Umar was never the deputy governor of that state.
The judge further ruled that it is the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) that determines any amount in pension and gratuity paid to public officers.
Amadi reiterated that Houses of Assembly lack the power to fix any amount in remuneration to its past governors and deputy governors.
“To that extent, I hold that the Taraba state governor and deputy governor’s pension Law, 2015 is null and void," the judge declared.
The judge, however, struck out a counterclaim filed by the Taraba state government asking Umar to refund of all salaries he enjoyed while in office for two years and payment of N80 million as general damages.
Umar was later sacked from office via a Supreme Court judgement in 2014 which declared that Abubakar-Danladi, who was purportedly impeached, remained the deputy governor of Taraba state and was reinstated with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, it is now illegal for the former governors who are now elected senators or ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to collect pensions as ex-chief executive officers of their respective states.
A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi area of Lagos has asked the federal government to recover pensions and allowances received by former and serving senators as ex-governors.
Legit.ng gathered that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) disclosed the ”landmark judgement” in a tweet on Wednesday, December 3.
It would be recalled that the group had in 2017 sued the federal government over its “failure to stop former governors from receiving double pay and life pensions.”
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